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Immediately I left the meeting and walked the few feet to the operations floor where I was told that there had been an explosion downtown...

The bombing of the Federal Building on Oklahoma City set into motion a tremendous emergency response, from the local public safety crews to federal emergency management personnel, including Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) teams from across the nation.

An arson fire had been set in a storage garage of our building the previous evening. When the blast occurred I thought, "My God, they did it! " It only took a few seconds to realize that our building was not the blast sight. I was in a meeting with another supervisor and our 9-1-1 coordinator, a police lieutenant).

Two days earlier a burglary had been reported in the building. At AM a dispatcher paged on our in-house phone system for a supervisor to come to the operations floor.

Dave George, President of Pryme Radio Products and a Wireless World Top 100 Wireless Technology Expert, unveils his annual public safety communication trends forecast & new products Motivation and overall morale in the dispatch center are difficult to maintain and with the encroaching holidays, one thing is for certain, 9-1-1 dispatchers are called to be at the top of their game.

Holidays can be a very busy time for 9-1-1; burnout, sickness and just genuine lack of motivation can be huge problems causing 9-1-1 centers everywhere to struggle.

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force, including county firefighters and civilian physicians, canine search specialists and structural engineers who served for ten days in Oklahoma, found that participating in their department’s well-orchestrated Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program provided them with a clear awareness of the impact of traumatic exposure, strengthening their ability to heal the heartache. We received a few EMS calls and dispatched companies for first-aid. Our office is located six blocks west of the incident. Approximately 98% of the phone calls we were receiving were from automatic alarm companies.

Just before Thanksgiving last year, an article entitled 12 Things That You Definitely Didn't Know About 911 Dispatchers hit the web, appearing on several sites simultaneously.

Upon their arrival firefighters were confronted with heavy smoke and fire showing from a one-story single family dwelling.

April 19, 1995: Twenty years ago, 9-1-1 Magazine covered the Oklahoma City bombing aftermath from the perspective of the 9-1-1 dispatchers who were working that morning, from the report of the first (of eleven) FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces to respond to begin rescue operations, and from the perspective of critical incident stress management for responders.

9-1-1 Communications Center teams work like well-oiled precision tools when a critical call comes in or the phones and radios are swamped on a full moon Friday night.

But we often hear that teamwork comes to an abrupt halt when it comes to getting along or to be a team off the phones and radio.

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